Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Women's Basketball Falls to South Alabama, 61-53

Michelle Plouffe was named to the all-tournament team.

Michelle Plouffe was named to the all-tournament team.

Nov. 26, 2011

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SAN ANTONIO - The Utah women's basketball team closed out the UTSA Thanksgiving Classic with a 61-53 loss to South Alabama on Saturday evening.

Foul trouble contributed to the loss, with Michelle Plouffe and Janita Badon limited to 17 and 16 minutes, respectively, before fouling out. Chelsea Bridgewater also fouled out for the Utes.

"Very disappointing loss, but South Alabama is a good basketball team," Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. "We have lots of good basketball teams on our schedule coming up, and we have to learn an important lesson. We must play, and play hard, and do it without fouling. Our effort is great, and our intent is great, but we have to play without fouling. We cannot afford to have our best players on the bench in critical times. South Alabama did a good job getting to places they thought they could attack us, particularly when we got into foul trouble."

The Utes led at halftime, 31-24, and held as much as a 12-point lead in the first half before South Alabama made several late baskets to cut Utah's halftime lead to seven. Plouffe led the Utes in the first half with seven points.

In the second half, a pair of free throws from Plouffe with 16:30 remaining put the Utah lead at eight points, 37-29 before a 10-0 South Alabama run over the next 4:30 put the Jaguars on top, 39-37. Badon stopped the drought with a layup with 12 minutes left, but South Alabama continued to score to keep the game close down the stretch.

With the Utes holding a three-point lead with eight minutes remaining, Rachel Messer was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three of her free throws, giving Utah a six-point lead. However, South Alabama made a three at the other end of the floor to start a 9-0 run to give the Jaguars the lead for good.

Iwalani Rodrigues' three-pointer with three minutes left was the final Utah basket of the game. South Alabama made a pair of layups and several free throws down the stretch to pull ahead in the final minutes.

Rodrigues led Utah with 13 points while Taryn Wicijowski scored 12 with a team-high seven rebounds.

"There are some positives out of this loss too," Levrets said. "Our younger players had to play a lot of minutes. Cheyenne Wilson did a great job playing some really critical minutes for us."

Plouffe was named to the UTSA Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 14 points and 5.5 rebounds per game against Detroit and South Alabama.

Utah returns home after spending the last four games on the road, taking on Weber State on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7:00 p.m. MT.



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